Understanding & Celebrating Baptism
Our next baptism celebration service is Sunday, March 10, at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. at South Bay Bible Church, 578 Montauk Highway, East Moriches, NY 11940. We would love for you to join us and support those going "All In" for Jesus at this special church service.
All baptism services are indoors, and the pool is heated. If you are interested in being baptized, or if you have questions about baptism, please click the link below or call Pastor Hawley at (631) 909-8241.
If you are unable to be baptized on March 10, our next baptism service will be on Sunday, July 14, 2019.
Why Should I Be Baptized?
1. To follow the example set by Christ.
Mark 1:9, “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth and was baptized by John in the river.”
Why was Jesus baptized? In order to save him? No, He did not need to be saved. He was perfect. Baptism does not save you. It is a symbol of obedience, and it is an example that we are to do what He has done.
2. Because Christ commands it.
Christ commands that every Christian be baptized. Matthew 28:18-20, “Jesus said, ‘Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.’” These are the three things the church is commanded to do: Make disciples — help people come to know Christ; Baptize them; and Help them grow. Many people think, “I’ll be baptized after I have grown up. After I know about the Christian life, then I will be baptized.” No, it’s right after you make the decision to follow Christ. Notice the order: You make the disciples, then you baptize them, then you spend the rest of your life following and growing as a Christian.
3. It demonstrates that I’m really a believer.
Acts 18:8 says, “Many of the people who heard him believed and were baptized.” Baptism does not make you a Christian. It just shows that you are a Christian. A wedding ring does not make you married. It is a symbol of the commitment that you make when you are married. On the wedding day, the bride and groom make a commitment before God and some witnesses. They say “I do,” and they give their lives to each other and for the rest of their lives. That commitment is what makes them married, not the ring. If the ring were lost, they would still be married. Baptism is like a wedding ring. It is an outward symbol of an inward commitment.
That is what baptism is. Baptism does not make you a Christian. It is just an outward symbol of an inward commitment. It is your commitment to Christ that saves you. Baptism just says to the world, “I am not ashamed to tell the whole world what’s happened to me. I have given my life to Christ Jesus.” A little boy once asked, “When can I get advertised?” That’s what baptism is. Baptism is an advertisement for Jesus. It is saying, “I am not ashamed of Jesus Christ.” Jesus said, “If you’re ashamed of Me in front of the world then I’ll be ashamed of you in front of MY Father in heaven (Luke 9:26).” Obey Christ. His first command to you is be baptized.
What is the Meaning of Baptism?
1. It illustrates Christ’s burial and resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:4, “Christ died for our sins. He was buried and He rose again.”
Colossians 2:12, “For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ through your faith in the active power of God, who raised him from death.”
At South Bay Bible Church, we baptize the way they did in the Bible — putting people all the way under the water. It is a symbol of a burial and resurrection. Just like Jesus Christ died and was buried in the ground for three days and then rose again.
2. Baptism illustrates my new life as a Christian.
2 Corinthians 5:17, “When anyone become a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. The old life has passed away and a new life has begun.”
In the Bible, there was no such thing as a person claiming to be a Christian and not baptized. It was automatic. You were baptized as soon as you gave your life to Christ.
Romans 6:4, “By our baptism then, we were buried with Him and shared His death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead so we also may live a new life.” It does not make you a Christian, it shows you already believe.
Why Should I be Baptized by Immersion?
There are lots of ways to baptize. There are some churches that sprinkle a little water on your forehead. Some pour a little water on you. Some dip a little bit, and other churches put you all the way under the water. Why do the pastors at South Bay Bible Church believe you should be baptized by immersion? Four reasons ...
1. Because Jesus was baptized that way.
We want to do it the way it was done in the Bible. Matthew 3:16, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water.” He went down to the Jordan River. John the Baptist baptized Him in the river, and he set the example.
2. Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion.
Acts 8:38-39, “Then both Philip and the man went down into the water and Philip baptized him. Then they came up out of the water.”
3. That’s what the word means.
“Baptize” literally means “dip under water.” The Greek word baptize means to dip under water.
4. It best symbolizes a burial and resurrection.
The founders of denominations agree about this.
Martin Luther (Lutherans) - “I would have those who are to be baptized to be entirely immersed as the word imports and the mystery signifies.”
John Calvin (Presbyterians) - “The word ‘baptize’ signifies to immerse. It is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.”
John Wesley (Methodists) - “Buried with Him, alludes to baptizing by immersion according to the custom of the first church.”
They all agree, whether they do it or not, that this is the way they did it in the Bible.
What About Infant Baptism?
Infant baptism is very significant for many parents, but the baby does not even remember it. It does not mean anything to the child. The baptism of Jesus is a baptism of confession. It is when the believer says, “I want the world to know I am a follower of Christ.” You cannot do that until after you are a follower of Jesus.
Who Should Be Baptized?
Every person who has believed in Christ. Acts 2:41, “Those who believed and accepted his message were baptized.” Acts 8:13, “Simon himself believed and was baptized.” Acts 8:12, “But when they believed Philip as he preached the Good News and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”
At South Bay Bible Church, we wait until our children are old enough to believe and understand the true meaning of baptism before we baptize them. There is only one qualification in the Bible to be baptized. You must believe in Christ. Obviously you have to be old enough to understand what that is all about. There are many churches that practice the baptism of confirmation. This ceremony is intended to be a covenant between the parents and God on the behalf of the child. The parents promise to raise their child in the faith until the child is old enough to make his own confession of faith. This custom only began about 300 years after the Bible was finished. It is not in the Bible. It is just a tradition. This is much different than the baptism talked about in the Bible, which is only for those old enough to believe. The purpose is to publicly confess your personal commitment to Christ.
When Should You Be Baptized?
As soon as you become a believer. Or as soon as you realize its importance. Maybe you have been a believer for a while, but you did not realize how important it was. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments (John 14:15).” In Acts, it says those who believed were baptized that day.
Acts 8:36-38, “Philip began with the scripture and told him the Good News about Jesus and as they traveled along the road they came to some water and the man said, “Look! Here’s water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized right now?” Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” The man answered, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he went down into the water and Philip baptized him.”
There is nothing special about the water. The water in the pool is not holy. What is holy is the faith of the people. It is not where you are baptized. It is why you are baptized. You are publically saying, “I am consenting to follow Jesus Christ for the rest of my days.” There is no reason to delay. After you have decided to receive Christ you ought to be baptized.
What Should You Wear for Your Baptism?
You should wear something modest that covers you well. If you are a woman, maybe a swim suit with a t-shirt over the top simply for modesty. The men, just a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. It must be something you do not mind getting wet in. Also, please bring a change of clothes, a towel, and a plastic bag for your wet clothes.
Can My Family Be Baptized Together?
Absolutely. If each family member understands the full meaning of baptism and has become a Christian, the answer is yes. In fact, we encourage families to be baptized together. It is important to remember that baptism is a personal statement of faith, not a family tradition. It is also not wise to delay your baptism while waiting on other family members to accept Christ, particularly children. This puts undue pressure on them, and delays your obedience.
Will You Have to Say Anything at Your Baptism?
You will just have to answer two questions: (1) If you died today, do you know for sure you would go to Heaven? (2) If you died today, and God asked you why He should let you into His Heaven, what would you say? The Biblical answers to these questions are covered in the Good News about Jesus—that He died on the Cross and thereby paid the penalty for your sin, and through that faith, one can know for sure that he is going to Heaven.
Is It Okay to be Baptized More Than Once?
Many times, a wife was baptized when she gave her heart to the Lord, but now, her husband has become a Christian, and she wants to be baptized with him. The answer is of course. Do you take communion more than once? There is no law that says you can only be baptized once. If you are in the Holy Land and you want to be baptized in the Jordan River as a reaffirmation of your faith, go ahead. There is nothing wrong with that. It is not wrong to do it again.
Celebrating Your Baptism Day
Since Baptism is about obeying Christ and proclaiming to the world your commitment to Jesus, we encourage you to invite family and friends to this special day. At every baptism service, pastor shares a very clear message about how people can get saved, so this is an extraordinary opportunity to invite people who do not know Jesus. You may invite as many people as you would like to your baptism.
South Bay Bible Church would like to help. We can provide you with invite cards with all the details of the service time and location, or you can provide the church with a list of your family and friends, and we will mail a very nice, personalized invitation to each one. To get the invitations out, we need three weeks advance notice. We also encourage you to follow up with each one by phone a few days before the service to remind them about the service. This is a very special day and a great opportunity to reach these people for Jesus.
Keyword: Baptism Meaning